Home & Family
As a mother awaits the arrival of her new bundle of joy, she makes plans on how she will parent, love, care for, and most importantly feed her baby. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding is the “gold standard.” There are more than 30 components found in breast milk that protect babies from infections and illness.
It is very common for new breastfeeding mothers to wonder if they are supplying their baby with enough milk to grow and thrive. Since they cannot visually see how much a baby is drinking, it can be difficult for mothers to tell if their baby is getting enough.
Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?
Below are a few tips to help mothers know that their baby is getting enough milk.
- At least six wet diapers and three soft yellow stools in 24 hours by their sixth day of life.
- The newborn baby is feeding at least eight to 12 times in 24 hours.
- Breastfeeding feels comfortable and pain free. It is normal for breastfeeding to feel uncomfortable at first for new moms. However, if breastfeeding becomes painful, it can be a sign that the baby’s position or latch are not the best.
- Breasts feel softer and less full after feeding.
- The baby seems happy and content after feedings.
Remember that breastfeeding can be challenging in the beginning, but it does get easier as mom and baby get to know one another and fall into a routine. Many women are able to breastfeed exclusively. Breastfeeding exclusively means no complimentary foods, water, infant formula, or any other foods. If a mother feels that she has a low milk supply, she should consult with her doctor or a lactation consultant in the area. They can help figure out if the mother is dealing with low milk supply and what may be hindering her from producing enough milk for the baby.
Milk Supply Decrease
Below are some things that may cause a decrease in milk supply.
- Taking contraceptives or any form of hormonal birth control can cause a significant drop in milk production for some women. This is more likely to happen if the mom starts taking them before her baby is 4 months old. It can happen later as well.
- Incomplete latch or a poor latch can be stressful for mom and baby. It can also lead to sore nipples. The breast will not be stimulated to produce more milk, which can lead to a reduced milk supply.
- Smoking transmits harmful chemicals in the breastmilk, reduces milk production, and may experience change in milk’s composition
- One to two alcoholic beverages, including beer, can affect the balance of prolactin and oxytocin. These two hormones control breast milk production and let down.
- Scheduling feedings can cause a mother to wait too long for her baby to nurse, which will decrease milk supply. Moms should feed their baby on demand, based on hunger cues such as mouthing, lip smacking, sucking on lips, fingers, or toes, and rooting.
- Cutting feedings short instead of letting the baby decide when they are done.
Breastmilk is commonly called liquid gold. Moms are encouraged to drink plenty of water and try their best to eat a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods can help increase milk supply.
Breastfeeding requires a mommy to need 300 to 500 more calories a day. Mommies need their rest as well. Being a new mom can be a bit overwhelming, so be sure to get plenty of rest and ask for help with other things around the house. Moms should enjoy this precious time with their new bundle of love.